Workers are as likely to have an accident during the first six months of their job as they are to have one during the rest of their working life (HSE). It’s not uncommon for us to work with people who were new to a job and became injured within the initial working months.
Working in a new job is risky for a few different reasons:
- Lack of experience.
- Lack of familiarity.
- Reluctant to raise concerns, or not know how to.
- Eagerness to impress.
When you start a new job, there is a lot of information to take in, and it takes time to settle in and get used to your surroundings and tasks. You may feel like any concerns you have about health and safety will not be listened to. If you do become injured because of work, you might feel reluctant to seek out advice for compensation in case it puts your career in jeopardy. You may also feel like the injury or illness was your fault, and that your lack of experience meant that you were incapable of doing the job properly, and this led to you becoming injured.
Although injuries can happen because of worker inexperience, this does not mean the accident was your fault. When businesses take on a new employee they have certain legal responsibilities to protect their new worker. These include:
- Assessing whether the worker is capable of doing a particular task. Things like your literacy, numeracy, physical capability, general health, previous work experience and familiarity with the job should be taken into account. If you are physically smaller than the rest of the team, or are not as physically well, then your employer should not put you to work on something that they know is going to be excessively physically demanding to you. If you have poor reading skills of the English language, your employer should not expect you to understand written signage or instructions. If a job is complex and requires experience, they should not expect a new employee to be able to understand it and perform it safely. A job may seem simple to an experienced person, but it is unreasonable to assume that a new person will be able to easily and safely perform a skill that is new to them.
- Induction periods. In any job, an employee should have an induction period where health and safety is explained in a simple, straight forward manner. They should be familiarised with potential injuries and accidents.
- Giving proper information. About health and safety, risks and the importance of reporting accidents and near misses.
- Supervision. While you get to grips with your new role, you should be properly supervised so that if you are doing something in an unsafe way, you can be showed how to do it differently.
- Checking understanding. Employers should check that their new workers properly understand what they are supposed to be doing, how to do it in a safe way and that they know how to report anything unsafe and feel comfortable asking for help.
If employers do not keep up with their health and safety responsibilities and a worker becomes injured, they may be at fault for the accident. Even if you may feel like the accident was your fault due to inexperience.
When you start a new job, it may take time for you to become familiarised with your environment and properly understand how to do your job safely. Your employer should not put pressure on you to be as productive and effective as the other members of your team right away, even if you are being paid the same amount of money.
If you become injured because of a new job, which you are otherwise happy with you may become afraid that if you seek a solicitors advice about personal injury compensation your employer will become angry and dismiss you. This can be even more worrying for new workers as it is for more established workers as you might feel like you do not have enough experience to comfortably find a new job. If you’ve started working after great
If you do decide to take legal action against your employer, they aren’t legally allowed to fire you because of this as it classifies as unfair dismissal. Nor can they decide they are going to make your life difficult because of it. It’s not a case of having to choose between your job and a personal injury claim. Employers have liability insurance, and it is the insurers that pay out for a claim, so you won’t be putting your employer into financial hardship.
In general, you have three years after an accident to claim compensation for personal injury, but it’s best to get things in motion as soon as you have the accident. You can speak to one of our solicitors face to face, on a no win no fee basis. We will be able to advise you whether your claim would be successful in confidence. If you’d like to speak with one of our local, qualified solicitors, simply fill in our claims form and someone will get back to you within the same day. Or you can call us on our freephone 0800 163 622.